Commentary

Van Gaal defiant as Manchester United remains without alternative

First, there was speculation that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal would lose his job if the Red Devils lost to Stoke City or Chelsea in the post-Christmas week. Then after United lost to Stoke, 2-0, on Saturday, the speculation was that van Gaal would lost his job if United lost to Chelsea on Monday. Well, United didn't lose.

A 0-0 with Chelsea at Old Trafford left United without a win in eight games in all competitions -- its longest winless streak in a quarter of a century -- and five points out of the top four and nine points behind new leader Arsenal at the halfway mark of the Premier League.

And where does that leave van Gaal? "When the players give such a performance with a lot of pressure," he said after the Chelsea game, "there's no reason to resign." He could look to an improved performance that saw both Juan Mata and Anthony Martial hit the woodwork in the first half. But an improved performance is all relative after the miserable Boxing Day showing at Stoke and against Chelsea, which is closer to the relegation zone -- three points -- than United is to the top four.

Van Gaal, who stormed out of a pre-Christmas news conference after ripping the media for speculating about his future, again took aim at the press after the Chelsea game.

"The crisis here is the environment," he said, "and you [the media] are part of that. The players are willing to fight for every meter. The manager is willing to fight. The members of staff are willing, to fight and the board has every confidence in the staff and the manager."

Van Gaal was not ignorant enough to believe he was out of the woods.

"In this crazy football world," he said, "it can happen every day and also with me. When it happens to Jose Mourinho, then it can happen with me."

Mourinho was fired as Chelsea manager before Christmas and has been linked with the United job that he once coveted. He is currently on vacation in Brazil but hopes to have a new job at the beginning of January.

If van Gaal is a goner, it remains to be seen if Mourinho will have the blessing of the United old guard, the likes of Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton.



United passed on Mourinho when Ferguson retired and instead chose David Moyes as Ferguson's replacement. Charlton was believed to be leaning toward Mourinho, then at Real Madrid, until he poked then-Barcelona assistant coach Tito Vilanova in the eye on the sidelines.

“A United manager wouldn’t do that,” Charlton later said. “Mourinho is a really good coach, but that’s as far as I would go really. He pontificates too much for my liking.”

Mourinho's sideline antics and pontificating have, if anything, gotten worse, the prime example being his run-in with Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro in August.

Without a successor lined up for van Gaal -- Pep Guardiola will likely take over at Manchester City after his tenure at Bayern Munich ends -- the Dutchman should feel emboldened that he just might ride out the current storm.
3 comments about "Van Gaal defiant as Manchester United remains without alternative".
  1. Thomas Brannan, December 28, 2015 at 9:15 p.m.

    Why aren't there more stories about Raineri and Leicester City? We all know why!

  2. Greg Giese, December 28, 2015 at 9:55 p.m.

    Cuz my Reds whipped email?

  3. Greg Giese replied, December 28, 2015 at 9:55 p.m.

    em*

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications